August 8, 1815
I wish I were able to draw with your level of talent so that I might represent your Mr. Rensalaer to you. He is a fine form of a man, in spite of the scars and the arm that is weakened. He tops father’s height by several inches at least and his shoulders are broad and strong. His eyes are a golden green color that seem to change with the light, and his smile though restrained is genuine.
He is all politeness and reserve. Mother is enjoying having a young man in residence to fuss over once more and Mr. Rensalaer is accommodating her most graciously. I don’t know for how long he will allow her to dote on him, and when asked to reminisce about Richard, he was unable to take part wholeheartedly.
Father has planned to take him to the best fishing spots on our grounds tomorrow. Perhaps some time out of doors will ease his discomfort somewhat. I believe you have taken on a difficult task, however if I know of anyone who is capable of returning lightness and joy to this man, it is you.
I was interrupted and so unable to finish my letter and get it put into the post. I decided therefore to simply add to these pages.
Upon the return of Mr. Rensalaer and father from fishing, I noted a remarkable change in both of them. Father’s eyes were rimmed in red but he was joking and laughing as I haven’t seen since Richard left to go to war. Mr. Rensalaer seemed perhaps a bit self-conscious but lighter, easier.
I spoke with mother later that evening while father and he were enjoying their port to ask whether father had imparted anything to her as to the reason for this change. She was unable to enlighten me much, but did say father and Mr. Rensalaer had come to a perfect understanding about Richard and father has told Mr. Rensalaer to consider us as his family as he has none of his own.
I know I had expressed doubts as to your plan of inviting him to be with us and others who cared for Richard would be for the best. I recognize now that you are wise beyond your years dear Tasha. It has not only made a change in your Mr. Rensalaer, but changes for my father and mother both which have been lovely to see. It no longer feels as if we are still waiting for someone who never comes to sit down to dinner.
Dr. Reynolds and his sister are coming to dine this evening. I have plans of my own to concoct so I will be closing this missive now and wishing you all the best as you suffer through balls and dinner parties.
August 13, 2015
Burton Park, West Sussex
My Lord Duke,
I thank you for your apprising me of the request of Lord Fotheringham for Miss Abbingdon’s hand in marriage. I respect your understanding and knowledge of the family and bow to your decision to allow him to propose to the lady as she is now your ward and other than our slight familial connection, no concern of mine.
I will be returning to Witcombe at week’s end and will look in the papers to see the banns published. Please express my congratulations to Miss Abbingdon and let her know all I have wanted has been her happiness and I am pleased she will be so.
August 13, 2015
Dear Miss Tibbets,
Please let me know as soon as might be what has happened. The captain has received a letter from the Duke of Wentworth which has greatly upset him. He has not taken me into his confidence and he is trying to keep a calm countenance however I have served him these many years. I had thought after he and Baron Ware had talked over the circumstance of poor Mr. Richard Ware’s tragic death, that after each had come to peace with it as they had, the bleakness would be gone from the captain’s eyes forever.
Whatever was relayed in the duke’s letter has brought it back.
Anxiously waiting an answer,
August 18, 2015
It is only because of your faithful writing that I did not travel to Sussex post haste, and uninvited, to direct all the circumstances surrounding Sinjin’s visit with your family. I know it will come as no surprise to you that I tend toward being managing and officious. I am so happy to know that good has come from it all.
I have received an offer of marriage from Lord Fotheringham. He is the less colorful of the popinjays in the drawing I sent to you last month, I believe I placed him farther toward the back as he usually is content to remain in the background. Indeed he is not a bad sort, however as you know, not at all the man I will be marrying, so I was able to turn his proposal down without so much as a pang.
The Duchess was inclined to be shocked that I would refuse such an eligible suitor, but the Duke merely lifted his brow and smiled slightly. I wonder if he suspects where my heart lies?
By the time this letter reaches you I expect Sinjin will have left to either return to Witcombe or to visit other friends. Although to be honest I am not sure who those other friends might be. According to Sgt. Rountree he is planning to avoid London at all costs. I wonder if it is because I reside her now, or if it is due to the temptation of wild living in which he had become so mired in past years? Well, it is all speculation at this point.
I hope all your managing and scheming is coming to fruition. I live in daily expectation of learning that the doctor has asked your father permission to marry you. I am enclosing a list of strong investments and at what levels of investment you should make in each. It is best to not put all of your eggs in one basket so to speak. A. C. Abbingdon can serve as your agent in these investments if you wish. It is not easy to become financially independent as a woman, so keeping my alter ego as an agent for making investments has worked quite admirably.
All the best,
August 19, 2015
Dear Sergeant Rountree,
I believe the news which must have caused the captain such discomfiture is that Miss Abbingdon received an offer of marriage from Lord Fotheringham. She has refused him. She will not give her hand where her heart does not lie. However, I wonder if it would do the captain some good to not know right away that she has refused the offer?
His reaction tells me he does care for the girl. Perhaps it being patently obvious that if he doesn’t take care he could lose her all because of his own misplaced pride may serve as the lever needed for him to make the necessary shift.
As you say, you know him well, so I will bow to such knowledge in how you use the above information.
Miss J. Tibbets
August 25, 1815
Dear Mr. Rensalaer,
I appreciate the faith you have expressed in my management of Miss Abbingdon’s affairs. She however, as you likely are aware, is a most redoubtable female. She has refused Lord Fotheringham’s suit. She did so kindly and politely and has confounded the duchess by doing so, for he is considered quite a matrimonial catch. I am convinced she has her eye on another prize.
I will keep my own eye on her to ensure her safety and happiness. In the short while she has resided with us she has become a favorite with us all.
I include a drawing she handed to me after a particularly dull society event. She certainly knows how to characterize the ton, drawing them as either birds or other ridiculous animals. She mentioned to me once she had drawn a picture of the village children as frogs on the steps of the church, I wonder if you know of it? If not, I believe this picture hearkens back to that time. Society dames and debutants are not known for their kindly treatment of devastatingly beautiful, wealthy newcomers.
She will likely receive other offers of marriage before we leave for the country at the end of the season. Would you like me to continue to inform you of these or shall I manage them all as I see fit? I will not compel her to marry where she does not like to. She knows her own mind, and I believe her own heart. I do not expect her to accept any such offers this season. If she is still unattached next season however, I believe she will at that time recognize the folly of her patience.
You are welcome to call at any time you find yourself in town.